Portsmouth thwarted in friendly hunt after Crystal Palace withdrawal - but Danny Cowley has other ideas

Pompey have been forced to admit defeat in last-gasp attempts to find alternative friendly opposition at St George’s Park.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 10:42 am
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 11:16 am
Last weekend's 5-2 victory at the Hawks represents Pompey's most recent friendly following the cancellation of a fixture with Crystal Palace. Picture: Paul Collins

Instead they will tomorrow stage an in-house match featuring entirely their own squad at the Burton upon Trent venue.

The Premier League side had intimated they would put out a strong team for the St George’s Park fixture, despite being booked to face Walsall the following day (July 17).

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However, concerns over player availability prompted new boss Patrick Vieira to scrap their Blues encounter – yet Palace’s game with the Saddlers remains in the diary.

Since learning of that decision on Monday lunchtime, Danny Cowley has been searching for new Pompey opposition.

At such short notice and with Covid bubbles to consider, the Blues have unfortunately been unable to secure a replacement.

Yet with Cowley still determined to utilise the St George’s Park facilities and put match minutes into his player, the show will go on.

As an alternative, Pompey will play a game between the 28 players who have attended their week-long training camp.

The likes of Michael Jacobs and Ellis Harrison will not be considered following long-term injury absences, despite the latter now back in training.

In addition, Paul Downing is out with a hamstring issue and Gavin Bazunu (quad) is expected to be back in action at the end of next week.

Regardless, there are enough available bodies in the Pompey camp to fulfil an 11-a-side fixture, scheduled for 30 minutes each way.

Although Cowley will assess whether any of his squad require resting after a tough week’s training, largely consisting of double sessions each day.

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